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Number 12

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Hello all and welcome to my most excellent web page, now operating for its twelfth week! My goal in adding this page to the WTS is to entertain my fellow toasters, and maybe even a small segment of the rest of the Web. I'll endeavor to add something new every week, so keep checking in, or look for my announcements on Andy's "What's New" page.

My offerings will fall into two categories: First, original works; artwork, music, photos, or writing that I'm collecting here for self-publication on a scale unimaginable a few years ago. Hopefully, the world's collective yawn won't totally blow me over, but I think you'll enjoy it if you've gotten this far. Second, Stuff I Found On The Web, brought back and held up to the light for your enjoyment. There's a whole underground world of music publication on the Web through a device called "MIDI", and I have a link page or two of my favorites for you to cruise. Also, in commenting on an issue or interest of mine, I'll write some essays filled with links for you to read.

Go directly to the corners of my electronic world by using the navigation bar appearing at the top of this page, or jump down below this section to find out what I've added this week. I'll also be experimenting with time, allowing you to scroll through previous weeks' versions of my pages where appropriate.

What's New

Hello all. This is a very special week for my web page. It's its twelfth week of operation! What am I doing to celebrate? Well, not much; I've been pretty busy this week. But, I've added a new story and poem to "Waiting For The Dawn". Both are from my old notebooks, but both have never been published in any form before, and one is a brand new discovery by me, lost for many years! The story is really just a fragment, but one of my favorites that I've been hoping for a while to do something with. It was written in '86, and mysteriously prophetic with the appearance of a dark-colored school bus years before the idea of owning one had been suggested to me. Anyhow, the memory of this story fragment stuck with me because of its clear visual elements. In this regard, it fits in with what I have posted so far and what is yet to come, so I've decided to change the subtitle to "Waiting For The Dawn" appropriately from its original rather wimpy disclaimer.

The poem I discovered when sifting through my papers; I remember writing it now but for a few moments it was like seeing something written by somebody else, somebody who happened to share my strong emotions on the subject of Space. To most people, working at NASA or whatever would be just a job, but I've always felt somehow that this was what I was born to do, that it calls to me. I can't explain how the sight of a rocket, even just sitting there, can somehow wrap up all of the dreams, hope, sweat, courage, and glory of its ordinary creators; or why I find a launch still to be so affecting. When somebody asked me for my opinion of the movie "Apollo 13," I had to give the very positive recommendation "I cried during the launch sequence".

In that vein, I have the following strong Anime recommendation to all my friends: I recently saw a completely amazing Japanese animated movie called The Wings of Honneamise. You must see it. I recommend it as strongly as "Totoro," except with a caveat that it's not as much of a kids' movie. I am buying a copy; after I get finished watching it dozens of times I will gladly loan it out. If you want to buy it yourself, the above link is for the english dubbed version, which is the one I saw, and is the most bearable dubbed anime I've seen to date. If you want the subtitled, you can order it from this page.

What is Wings of Honneamise about? Before I saw it, someone told me "It's a Japanese cross between 'The Right Stuff' and 'An Officer And A Gentleman'," and that's a pretty good summary except it doesn't prepare one for the mind blowing depth of what you are about to see. It's a story set in an alternate universe about an astronaut training to be the first man in space from a planet bearing little resemblance to our own except for the passions and follibles of both those working on the program and their political leaders. Somehow, in addition to telling an epic story about one man's adventure, growth, and redemption, the makers of this move depict a fictional civilization with such richness and realism that you forget that what you're looking at is often very alien. But, even though the story is fictional, it is still strongly about our own world. The issues and politics that influence the characters are still intensely human. What's also neat is that the technology, while different looking in some respects, is portrayed as convergent to our own; despite the alien setting I often felt like it was set in 1962. And, because the characters are all Japanese in appearance, and the religion and spiritualism discovered during the course of the movie could not have been thought up by the mind of an American, I got the impression that the movie can also be summarized as "If the Japanese had launched the first man in space...".

Well, that was the Charles summary of the movie. There's also this one, which I got from a web page that had too many spoilers to place a link to, is also very explanatory. I was surprised to find that the movie was that old:
When The Right Stuff premiered it claimed that "this was the way the Space Age began". Wings of Honneamise would claim that this is the way the Space Age might have begun. This is one of the few movies (animated or otherwise) that can legitimately claim to be an epic. It premiered in Japan in 1987 and was the first film released by the studio Gainax (the folks who later went on make Gunbuster and Nadia).
Wings of Honneamise takes place on an alternative Earth and tells the story of the first person in space, Shirotzugh Lhadatto. Honneamano is a kingdom which is a strange mixture of Japanese, European, and American cultures. Shiro has joined the Royal Space Force because his grades weren't good enough to get into the Royal Navy and become a pilot. The Royal Space Force is a woefully underfunded group of aging engineers and young lazy military recruits. The engineers (reminiscent of the German rocket society engineers of the 1920s) have been working for years without much success to build a rocket that can launch a person into space. Now that the "cold war" with the neighboring kingdom is starting to heat up, the top military leaders decide that the rocket can be used as a threat against the opposing kingdom, so they begin increase the funding of the Royal Space Force. Progress finally begins to occur. Meanwhile the aimless Shiro meets a young woman named Leiqunni Nondelaiko passing out religious tracts. He visits her home and discovers that she thinks the idea of traveling into space is wonderful. He begins to fall in love and his love for her rekindles his own dreams of space flight.


Other corners of my annex:

Play my MIDI links!
(why and how)
f1.7, Charles Dickson's Photo Essays

Future Links:

The Lisa Joy Adulation Page
Original Music by Number 12
Show Me Your Bus

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